Almandine garnets are classic gemstones that, thanks to their abundance, remain excellent value in terms of price.
But don’t let their affordability fool you! Almandine garnets possess a charm that has attracted people from all walks of life, including royalty – most notably the millennium-old Hungarian Royal Crown – for centuries.
Almandine Garnet History and Info
The deep red, dark purple, intense brown and/or almost black almandine garnet is found throughout the world, most notably in Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Brazil, India and the United States. Deposits vary in size and typically only the small to mid-sized garnet stones are used to make jewellery. (Unlike many types of gems, larger is generally not better when it comes to a garnet’s quality.)
Because the colour of the almandine garnet is so murky and naturally opaque, the underside of the gem is usually hollowed out regardless of the cut that’s chosen. This hollowed-out interior allows light to bounce from facet to facet, enabling the vibrant garnet hues (hidden before the gem was cut) to burst forth.
Though most almandine garnets are inexpensive compared to other similar-sized precious gemstones, there are some garnets containing asbestos fiber inclusions that are quite rare. These types of almandine garnets carry a higher price tag due to their scarcity and complexity.
Folklore and Legend
Like many gemstones, almandine garnets are steeped in folklore.
Numerous past civilizations believed that having almandine garnets close to one’s body offered protection and wisdom. Physicians in the middle ages (and possibly before that time period) were even known to place garnets at the site of physical injuries or painful body parts to encourage healing.
Almandine garnet is the birthstone for January babies as well as for the Zodiac sign Aquarius. This makes it a good choice as a “starter” jewellery item given for one’s birthday!
Caring for Your Almandine Garnet
One of the distinct advantages to buying almandine garnet jewellery is that it’s a very easy gemstone to care for. Having a Mohs hardness scale of roughly 7.0-7.5, garnet isn’t easily scratched. This makes cleaning at home trouble-free.
Though you can definitely take your almandine garnet necklace, ring or bracelet to a jeweller to bring its sparkle back, you can also get a great deal of shine out of it by cleaning it with a soft cloth, non-abrasive cleanser and water.
As with all jewellery, it’s important that you store your almandine garnet in a dry place and, if possible, within a soft cloth.
Is an Almandine Garnet Right for You?
There’s no doubt that the almandine garnet is a good buy; from a purely financial standpoint, it’s a great way to make your jewellery budget stretch farther. But it’s just as important to consider aesthetics when determining if almandine garnets fit your style. For instance, do you like the colour? Is the look of a garnet something that “calls” to you on a personal level?
The almandine garnet comes in many shapes, so it’s best to check out a number of jewellery items before making your final decision.